23rd August 2018: A one day conference on “Awareness Quotient- UN SDGs Agenda 2030” was organized by UN Global Compact Network India (UN GCNI) and Jayanthee SreeJeevika Foundation at Hyderabad (India). The conference saw the presence of representatives from the Government of India and the Government of Telangana, MNCs and several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on environmental and sustainability issues.
The organizers of the event from Sreejeevika Foundation invited me to be a part of plenary session representing SDSN-Youth in the capacity of SDG Coordinator (TERI SAS), South Asia Network. I spoke on the role of youth in making SDGs a reality and their importance in building a sustainable future, along with activities of SDSN-Youth. I explained the journey of how SDSN youth started from a team of 10 volunteers to a global group of 140 people working in 35 different countries and have more than 750 members organizations in around 85 countries.
Besides race, religion, and ethnicity. The three most important aspects that we humans share is a) our planet Earth, b) 17 SDGs and c) Maximum share of youth ever in the history of humankind. As per UNFPA Population Report 2017, the world is home to the largest group of 10 to 24-year individuals in the past, with over 1.9 billion individuals. 60 percent of people aged between 15 and 24 live in Asia and the Pacific, which is around 700 million youth. The millennial generation is the largest stakeholder in the present and future of the world. Out of 169 SDG targets, 65 have a reference explicitly or implicitly to the youth of the world with a focus on empowerment, participation, and well-being. Hence it is of paramount importance to involve and make them aware of sustainable development goals.
Mr. Kamal Singh, Executive Director of UN GCNI, spoke about the need of Sustainable Development Goals to be an active part of the developmental policies and management. He also emphasized on how the Indian states like Assam and Sikkim have already adopted SDGs in their development agenda, and several Indian states are in process of incorporating the same. The Plenary session was moderated by Mr. Anurag Goel, Former Secretary- Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India. Since 2015, he has been instrumental in guiding the Indian state of Assam in designing a roadmap for achieving sustainable development goals and the initiative got praise from SDSN Director Professor Jeffrey Sachs as a leading example for the world.
Furthermore, there was a discussion on corporate social responsibility (CSR) towards sustainable development. The CSR is considered as corporate concept of sustainable development with focus on ethical values, cooperation, human rights, environment and social inter-relationship. A trend has emerged among the corporates to rebrand their products, services, technology to make it more efficient and adding a new step towards sustainable development. Corporates can play an instrumental role in achieving the UN motto i.e. “no one should be left behind” by creating partnership including its clients, employees and society.
Mohammed Subhan Khan is the SDG Coordinator for UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth (SDSN-Y) from TERI SAS, South Asia Network. He is trained as an Electronics and Communication Engineer and has worked for 2 years in the industry. He is currently pursuing Master of Technology in Renewable Energy and Engineering Management from TERI School of Advanced Studies (TERI SAS). He has also been a founding member of a Delhi based solar start-up in India 2016. Subhan is also leading the School University Network (SUN) of TERI SAS, which sensitizes people on sustainability and environment-related issues by conducting workshops and seminars at schools, colleges, and organizations.